There is nothing worse than craving a midnight snack and biting into a stale cracker. It’s extremely frustrating because it always feels like you just opened the packet.
We have heard of many so-called solutions to prevent stale crackers, but most of them don’t seem to work. We have however never heard of freezing crackers before.
So, can you freeze crackers? No, crackers do not freeze well. When frozen, ice crystals will form and crackers will become soggy, losing their texture and perhaps their structure, as well. Instead of freezing crackers, it is advisable to store them in a well-sealed container and in a cool, dark, and dry place, but not in the refrigerator.
After many hours of research, we have found that crackers just aren’t a great food to freeze. Unfortunately, there are a bunch of factors to take into consideration that ultimately causes crackers to not be freezer friendly.
In this article, we will explain why freezing crackers will not work and explore other methods that will help you avoid future disappointment. We will also look at the perfect storage conditions and how their shelf life is affected.
Why You Cannot Freeze Crackers
First of all, crackers are supposed to be crunchy and crisp – that’s the whole point! Nobody enjoys biting into a soggy or soft cracker.
The reason they become soft can be due to two factors: salt and structure.
Most crackers contain some form of salt on the surface. Salt is naturally hygroscopic meaning it can absorb and hold a large volume of moisture.
When you freeze a cracker, ice crystals form inside and when thawed or defrosted, the crystals melt and the salt absorbs it instead of allowing the water to evaporate. This means that the water now sits on the surface of the cracker, causing it to become softer or soggy.
The second factor is the internal structure of the cracker. A lot of crackers are extremely aerated causing them to either become stale when exposed to air for too long or soggy because they absorb too much moisture from the air.
When frozen they can also hold a lot of ice crystals that become water when defrosted, as we explained above.
Freezers also sometimes have fluctuating temperatures. This will cause the cracker to constantly freeze and thaw, and it will subsequently lose its integrity.
Another problem with storing crackers in the freezer is the high possibility that they will be ruined by freezer burn if they aren’t stored properly.
Now we are not saying that there is absolutely no way you can freeze crackers. However, we haven’t found any conclusive or scientific evidence that you can freeze crackers and have a result that is at all similar to its original texture and structure.
But who knows, maybe there is a good freezing method out there that has yet to be discovered.
If you’re intent on freezing them anyway, your best bet would be to tightly wrap the crackers with saran wrap or in a freezer bag. Cover these packages with a layer of foil and write the details of the crackers on them.
This includes the type of crackers, the date they were opened, the date they were frozen, and the expiration date (either the one provided on the box or 6 months after you bought them).
Place the foil package inside an airtight freezer-safe container and then into the freezer. This way they will be protected from freezer burn, odors, and being crushed.
It also has all the details on the package so you can see exactly which crackers work and which don’t and how long they will last. But again, we don’t exactly recommend trying to freeze crackers at all.
The Best Ways to Store Crackers Instead
Even though freezing crackers isn’t an option, there are many other methods for storing crackers for a long period.
Storing in its Original Packaging
There is a reason all crackers are packaged virtually the same – it’s because it works. The airtight plastic sleeve keeps the crackers from coming in contact with air, moisture, bacteria, and much more.
It also prevents the crackers from absorbing any odors around it.
The cardboard box or molded plastic container keeps the crackers from too much damage. The containers are also designed in a way that is easily stored or stacked.
The downfall of storing your crackers in their original packages is that pests might be able to infiltrate it. These include rodents, weevils, beetles, and even cockroaches. Make sure you don’t have any of these pests before storing anything in cupboards.
Storing in a Zip-Lock Bag
Once your crackers are opened, they only have a limited amount of time before losing their crispness. Use a zip-lock bag to store the opened crackers as it will prevent them from becoming stale.
They are a great option to use for daily meal prep as you can pre-portion them and then grab one before you go.
These bags are also a way to prevent unwanted guests from having a bite, although some might still be able to get through. The bags will also prevent any odors from being absorbed by the crackers.
Unfortunately, zip-lock bags don’t provide any protective structure so your crackers might become crumbs. You should store it in an area where they will not crush underneath other products or keep them in a container.
Storing in an Air-Tight Container
This is the best storage option to prevent pests from getting to the crackers. A great advantage of storing crackers this way is that you can portion the packages (or bulk packages), reducing lunch or snack prep time significantly.
You can either store the crackers in an airtight plastic container, metal tin, or a glass jar.
Other Methods Worth Trying
A method that we haven’t tried but heard great feedback on, is storing your crackers with a slice of bread inside the container. The bread absorbs most of the moisture, keeping the crackers fresher for longer.
Another nifty trick is to place salt or baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) in a small, open container and placing it inside the storage cupboard. These ingredients are hygroscopic so they will easily absorb excess moisture in the air.
Silica gel enclosed packets can also be a last resort. Use those that come in your medication bottles as they are to an extent safer than those from shoe boxes.
Silica gel will absorb moisture in the cupboard or bread bin. However, these are poisonous, so do not open or consume the contents of the packet.
Best Conditions For Storing Crackers
The best place to store crackers is in a cool dry place – just like the label always says. But where exactly is that?
For crackers, the best area to store them is in a food cupboard, pantry, or container where they won’t be exposed to any direct sunlight. Sometimes your label will also refer to a “dark” place – this is what they mean.
Sunlight or heat creates moisture which in turn makes the crackers soft or soggy and causes them to lose their flavor.
Thus the ideal storage temperature should be at least 45 degrees Fahrenheit (8 degrees Celsius) and no higher than 77 degrees Fahrenheit (25 degrees Celsius).
The warmer it is, the shorter the shelf life will be. Avoid storing crackers in cupboards that are near ovens, hot pipes, or the refrigerator.
However, if the temperature is too low, the crackers will also absorb moisture and become soggy. It is recommended to experiment in your kitchen and find where works best for you.
The humidity of the room should never be more than 50%. Some thermometers test this, but if you stand in an area and feel clammy, the humidity is way too high. High humidity can lead to the growth of bacteria and mold on your crackers.
Unopened crackers can be stored in the right conditions for between six to nine months (of course unless the expiration date differs).
However, crackers can be consumed past the expiry date if they don’t have any mold on them. Any cracker that has a rancid odor is not safe to consume and should be discarded.
Once opened, most crackers will last about 2–4 weeks, if stored properly, without becoming stale.
Crackers that do go soft can be re-crisped and consumed immediately. See the related question below for how to go about re-crisping crackers.
It is very important to remember FIFO (first in, first out). This is a method of stock rotation that means the crackers that you placed in the cupboard first, should be placed in the front so that they can be taken out (used) first.
This way, even if you stockpile, you will always use the oldest crackers first.
Can I Re-Crisp Crackers?
It depends on the type of cracker, but you can try to revive soft crackers by placing them in a single layer in the oven at 225 degrees Fahrenheit (110 degrees Celsius) for 15-25 minutes.
This should remove any excess moisture and bring back the crunch again.
Can I Store Crackers in the Refrigerator?
The refrigerator is a cracker’s worst friend. Because of all the cool air, it has a lot of moisture and as you now know from this article, moisture is what makes crackers soggy.
Are There Some Crackers That Store Better Than Others?
We definitely think so. Different crackers have different moisture levels. No matter how low they are, any amount of moisture will result in certain crackers having a shorter shelf life.
Moisture can come in the form of water or shortening. Homemade crackers will not last as long as store-bought crackers. They contain other stabilizers and preservatives that homemade crackers don’t.
Do These Methods Apply to Biscuits or Cookies?
Yes, you can use these methods when storing other dried snacks such as cookies or chips. For reference, we also have a complete guide to keeping chips fresh.
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